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Posts Tagged ‘King Cyrus’


Saturday, February 20, 2021

Daniel 9:13-19

Prayer of Penitence – In the Desert

Eugene Alexis Girardet: Prayer in the Desert

Eugene Alexis Girardet: Prayer in the Desert

In today’s Noontime we ponder Daniels’s famous penitential prayer on behalf of the community. On the Eve of the first Sunday in Lent, we might reflect on three passages that complement today’s from Daniel. Ezra 9:6-15 and Nehemiah 1:5-11 and 9:6-37.  In this story, both priest and administrator rebuild the Jerusalem temple after Cyrus allows the Jewish people to return from exile. They have been told that their exile will last not 70 weeks or 70 years as was foretold by the prophet Jeremiah. No, they receive word that their captivity will end in seven times seventy or in 490 years. This is gloomy news until we begin to understand that this is precisely the amount of time until the arrival of Jesus.

The HARPER COLLINS COMMENTARY tells us that this prayer we read today is not seen so much as a petition from the people which God obeys but rather as an appropriate act of piety from a people who have erred and disobeyed. It is for this reason that it is best to find others who will pray this together with us as an admission of our collective willfulness, waywardness and disobedience. (Mays 631)

And let us pray Daniel’s prayer much as the Jewish community prayed with Ezra and Nehemiah when they returned to their ruined city.

woman-kneeling[1]God of Heaven, God of Earth, Spirit Dwelling Among Us,

Guide us . . . and grant us the faith to follow,

Be glad in us . . . and grant us the hope to rejoice in you,

Love us . . . and grant us the grace to grow in you.

We wish to turn . . . we wish to return to you.

For you are the beginning, the end, the all.

We are your servants.

May we serve you well.

Amen. 


Mays, James L., ed.  HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE COMMENTARY. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1988. 631. Print.

Images from: https://fineartamerica.com/featured/tent-in-the-desert-the-prayer-detail-eugene-alexis-girardet.html and http://annebender.blogspot.com/2013/07/three-things-i-love-about-catholicism.html

Adapted from a reflection written on February 17, 2008.

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Cyrus the Great

Ezra 1:1-6: Stirring Up the Spirit

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Unless we spend time with the story of Ezra, we miss the many miracles that call a broken people back home.

In the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, in order that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the Lord stirred up the spirit of King Cyrus of Persia so that he sent a herald throughout all his kingdom, and also in a written edict. (NRSV)

Unless we reflect on these ancient verses, we fail to hear the message that with God all things are possible.

In the first year that Cyrus of Persia was emperor, the Lord made what he had said through the prophet Jeremiah come true. He prompted Cyrus to issue the following command and send it out in writing to be read aloud everywhere in his empire. (GNT)

Unless we attend to the story of King Cyrus of Persia and Ezra the priest, we ignore the healing love of the Spirit.

In the first year of Koresh king of Persia, in order for the word of Adonai prophesied by Yirmeyahu to be fulfilled, Adonai stirred up the spirit of Koresh king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his whole kingdom, which he also put in writing. (CJB)

Unless we listen for the voice within that promises to stir up the Spirit in us, refuse the gift of everlasting life.

In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia—this fulfilled the Message of God preached by Jeremiah—God prodded Cyrus king of Persia to make an official announcement throughout his kingdom. (MSG)

aftertheexile_herocoreTo better understand the events surrounding the Jewish people’s return to Jerusalem, click on the image to the left or visit; http://bibleresources.americanbible.org/resource/after-the-exile-gods-people-return-to-judea

For more information about King Cyrus and Ezra, visit http://biblehub.com/topical/e/ezra-nehemiah.htm and http://biblehub.com/topical/c/cyrus.htm

When we use the scripture link to explore varying translations of these verses, we begin to see the stirring of the Spirit in our own lives as we ask: When has God put opportunities for change in our path? When have impossible circumstances turned in our favor? When have we helped others to see the movement of the Spirit in their lives?

 

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Isaiah 45:11-13: Shaping the Future

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Who is Cyrus, why does the prophet Isaiah refer to him here, and does he have any effect on our lives today?

Cyrus II “was known to be a great conqueror, who at one point controlled one of the greatest Empires ever seen, he is best remembered for his unprecedented tolerance and magnanimous attitude towards those he defeated . . . and he declared the first Charter of Human Rights known to mankind”. (Iran Chamber Society)

Cyrus, who freed the exiled Israelites from their Babylonian captivity, might serve as a focus of our reflection today for “it was by diplomacy as well as force of arms that he established the largest empire known until his time”. (ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA)

We might remember this leader for fierce battles that built an empire; and we might also remember his “humane treatment of conquered subjects”. (www.cyrusthegreat.net) By all accounts, he was a leader who showed compassion to a conquered and persecuted nation; and he made possible the reclamation of the city of Jerusalem and The Temple so important to the Jewish nation.

And so Isaiah tells us . . .

Thus God, The Holy of Israel, Israel’s Maker, says:
    “Do you question who or what I’m making?
    Are you telling me what I can or cannot do?
I made earth,
    and I created man and woman to live on it.
I handcrafted the skies
    and direct all the constellations in their turnings.
And now I’ve got Cyrus on the move.
    I’ve rolled out the red carpet before him.
He will build my city.
    He will bring home my exiles.
I didn’t hire him to do this. I told him.
    I, God-of-the-Angel-Armies.”

British Museum, London, UK: Cyrus Cylinder - the first charter of rights of nations

Cyrus Cylinder: the first charter of rights of nations (British Museum: London, UK)

We might spend time today learning about this leader who understood that a conquered people harbor a simmering desire for freedom that cannot be quelled; and that a small measure of tolerance, an openness to forming alliances, and a hope for a better future gain more than arms and force. Today Isaiah reminds us that despite apparent impossibilities, God called the conqueror Cyrus to help a trampled people. Today we might consider similar obstacles in our own lives as we receive the same invitation, the invitation to join others in shaping the future of our lives and the lives of those with whom we have both much and little in common. We only need listen for God’s call and respond.

Read more about Cyrus the Great at the sites below or at a site of your choosing.

http://www.britannica.com/biography/Cyrus-II

http://www.iranchamber.com/history/cyrus/cyrus.php#sthash.OU5kAmeM.dpuf

http://www.iranchamber.com/history/cyrus/cyrus_charter.php

http://www.cyrusthegreat.net/

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